USAID Global Development Lab bill introduced in Senate

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USGDLThis month Senators Ben Cardin (D-MD), John Boozman (R-AR) and Chris Coons (D-DE) introduced the Global Development Lab Act, legislation that would authorize the U.S. Agency for International Development to expand public-private partnerships to deliver innovative health solutions for the developing world.

In support of USAIDS’s mission to end extreme poverty, the Global Development Lab brings together corporations, nongovernmental organizations, universities, and science and research institutions to discover, test, and scale breakthrough innovations to solve developmental challenges more cost-efficiently and effectively. The lab will:

  • Source, discover and scale new technologies and innovations;
  • Build partnerships to co-design new solutions and take them from pilots to global impact;
  • Inspire, strengthen, and link the brightest young minds in America with those in USAID partner countries; and
  • Improve USAID’s development impact by supporting scientific and innovative approaches to strategic decision making, procurement, and program design

“The lab utilizes a pay-for-success model, which uses science, technology, and innovation-driven competitions to expand the number and diversity of solutions to development challenges,” reads a statement from Senator Cardin’s office. “This means that instead of issuing grants or contacts, USAID can give a competitor an award only after the objectives of the competition have been achieved.”

“This Act gives USAID the flexibility it needs to invest, test, and bring to scale solutions to development challenges and empowers the Global Development Lab to be the world’s most innovative incubator of global development projects,” Senator Cardin said in the statement.

The Lab will initially focus on nine areas: food security and nutrition, modernizing food assistance, ending preventable child and maternal deaths, energy access, water solutions, child literacy, financial inclusion, rights, participation and accountability, and humanitarian responses.

Current partners include Johns Hopkins University, Save the Children, Johnson & Johnson, Unilever, Nike, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, among others.

The bill is cosponsored by Senators Johnny Isakson (R-GA) and Tim Kaine (D-VA). Companion legislation has been introduced in the House by Representatives Joaquin Castro (D-TX) and Michael McCaul (R-TX).

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